When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, new forms of health care technology emerged allowing patients to continue to access care during the crisis. Telehealth skyrocketed in popularity, allowing many people to visit with their provider via a phone call or a video conference appointment.
Over the next several months and years, we will continue to have to navigate the uncertainty of this pandemic and telehealth is a beacon in the storm. A virtual telehealth visit is a simple way to reduce exposure and ultimately a great way to protect yourself, your family and the community.
As Nevada starts to reopen and people begin venturing out more frequently, we expect that telehealth is here to stay. Many people enjoy the medical care they receive via telehealth. It’s convenient and effective and people appreciate the ease of access to their health care provider. Rather than traveling to see your physician and spending valuable time in a waiting room, you can visit your provider from the comfort of your home or during your lunch break.
There are many benefits to telehealth, however, some people are understandably hesitant to try it. Some may feel uncomfortable, not knowing what to expect. To help ease concerns, we put together a guide on how to use telehealth and why it’s a great alternative to in-person appointments.
WHAT IS TELEHEALTH?
Telehealth is a user-friendly, HIPAA-compliant resource designed to allow virtual appointments with doctors and other providers through video or audio from the comfort of your own home. Digital appointments can result in faster diagnoses, treatments and increase the efficiency of care while reducing stress. All you need is a device that connects to the internet such as a computer, tablet or smartphone.
TYPES OF SERVICES
There are a variety of services and appointments that can be conducted via telehealth, including primary care, specialty or urgent care visits. Some providers or services even offer appointments 24 hours a day. Many primary care providers and specialists are currently conducting appointments over the telephone or through video chat. If you have an upcoming appointment or if you need to schedule an appointment, we recommend asking your provider if they are capable of doing the appointment via telehealth. The only exception is for emergency services. If you have an emergency, immediately go to your nearest medical facility or call 911.
Technology is readily available at our fingertips. There is no need to miss work, sit in a waiting room, or find childcare in order to have a visit with your doctor. With telehealth, you can meet with your physician wherever you are, at work during your lunch-break, or from the privacy of your own home.
There are many reasons to be optimistic, as vaccine development is well underway. Until then, we must continue to reduce the risk of exposure and proceed with caution. Wear a mask and maintain social distancing to mitigate risk and slow the spread of COVID-19. For elderly or immunocompromised patients telehealth is a powerful resource. It is a valuable way to provide necessary care while helping you stay safe and minimize risk.
For those experiencing symptoms associated with the coronavirus, you can make an appointment via telehealth services right away. This helps to minimize exposure for others who may have an essential in-person doctor’s visit. If you are not experiencing symptoms, scheduling a telehealth appointment is a great way to avoid the waiting room and stay healthy.
SEEK BEHAVIORAL HEALTH HELP
Your mental health matters. For individuals with underlying mental health conditions, the daily report of grim statistics related to COVID-19 can be stressful. It may evoke feelings of anxiety or impending doom. Telehealth is a great way for patients to seek help for mental health issues without having to leave their homes.
Telehealth gives you the ability to meet virtually with your physician or health care provider and have a high-quality health care experience at your convenience. A virtual telehealth appointment allows a patient to connect with their provider so they can get the care they need when they need it. Give it a try! Ask your doctor about scheduling a telehealth appointment, today.
Dr. Traci Biondi is the medical director for Prominence Health Plan.